All of us have experienced trauma in some form throughout our lives. This could mean a family member passing away, a relationship ending badly, witnessing a traumatic event, the loss of a pet or other traumatic experience. These traumas can change the way we take care of ourselves and interact with others.
Trauma can leave one feeling emotionally and physically unsafe, overwhelmed with distrust and fearful of rejection. Every day at Oaks we help children and adults acknowledge the role trauma has played in their lives. To help move past these feelings, our number one priority is to engage individuals in the treatment process and provide a compassionate support system in a safe, comforting environment.
The first moments of interaction between a service provider and mental health consumer can set the tone and influence the course of treatment. The National Alliance of Mental Illness reports that 70% of people seeking mental health care drop out after their first or second visit. Individuals who receive proper engagement will feel safe, understood and are more likely to return to accept the help they need. The National Alliance of Mental Illness and The National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma and Mental Health offer tips to advance a culture of engagement:
- Help manage feelings. Trauma may affect a person’s ability to find emotional balance. Survivors may experience a flood of feelings and worries that make it difficult to make decisions, follow plans and tend to responsibilities.
- Provide a soothing place. A safe, calming environment shows we care about how they feel and are interested in what happens to them emotionally as well as physically. A soothing space may be as simple as a private room, comfortable chair or colorful mural on the wall to help restore a feeling of calmness.
- Communicate hope. For those who feel hopeless, hold hope for them until they experience it themselves.
- Share information and decision-making. Support individuals as active participants in their care.
- Treat people with respect and dignity. Look beyond the person’s condition to see the whole person. Recognize the role of community, culture, faith, sexual orientation and gender identity, age, language and economic status in recovery.
At Oaks Integrated Care, engagement is key to our organization’s foundation and our core mission of helping people. We are committed to making our services easily accessible and providing not only the highest quality clinical services, but also exceptional customer service to make the experience a positive one. To learn more visit https://oaksintcare.org/services/ or call our Access Center 1-800-963-3317.